Cold In July

The Wedding Singer Culture Club

The Wedding Singer is set in 1985, but it might as well have just been set in “The 80s” in big block letters, scare quotes preserved. As represented in that late ‘90s Adam Sandler-starring hit, the ’80s were more of a simultaneous event than a brimming block of time that bore its own shifts and specifics as it rolled on. In the 1985 of the Sandlerverse, New Order was as popular as Nightmare on Elm Street and Billy Idol held simultaneous relevance to “Billie Jean”-era Michael Jackson. Any sign of a previous decade having existed before the ’80s is absent. Much of cinema’s millennial nostalgia for the ‘80s followed the lead of The Wedding Singer. From American Psycho to Hot Tub Time Machine, the ’80s of the ’00s have not been so much a part of history as they are an “idea” having to do with greed, excess, frivolous pop culture, and easy cracks at anachronistic fashion. But somewhere down the line, at some point between La Roux and The Americans, we started to take the ‘80s seriously.

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review cold in july

Editor’s note: Our review of Cold In July originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) awakens one night to a noise elsewhere in the house. Fearing an intruder, he retrieves a gun from the closet, tells his wife to stay put, and cautiously moves towards the living room. Seconds later, a young burglar’s deceased body falls onto the couch with a bullet through the eye. The town sees Dane as a hero, and the sheriff covers up the fact that the burglar was unarmed, but the quiet family man is left unsettled by the incident. Complicating things further is the recent parole of the dead man’s father, Russel (Sam Shepard). Dane attends the funeral from a distance but is surprised by a face to face encounter with Russel that makes it clear the man is not the forgiving type. When Russel makes the threat that much clearer with a frightening visit to Dane’s home it becomes clear the two men are in for an unavoidable collision. And then the story moves in an entirely new and unexpected direction.

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James McAvoy in Filth

Don’t let the bland, bloated, and messy The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fool you, this May is chock full of quality releases to start the summer off right with. While one would be better off seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier again this weekend for  a comic book sequel done right, there’s plenty of movies following The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s release that promise a good season for movie-going. One of those movies may or may not be A Million Ways to Die in the West. That film likely won’t change anyone’s mind, for better or worse, on Seth MacFarlane. It will be interesting to see if his fans have any interest seeing him in his live-action work, though. He’s a talented vocal actor, but does he have the chops for a live-action performance? The trailers indicate not, but maybe this super expensive comedy will surprise us skeptics. Before we see those 2 hours of “isn’t the old west crazy?!” joke play out, there are 10 releases not to miss this May before MacFarlane’s film arrives at the end of the month. Here are the must see movies of May 2014:

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